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THE CAMBROJJRITON, 205 



ETYMOLOGY. 



n » i i 



THE WORD " PARDON" AND ITS SYNONYMES IN 
WELSH, GREEK, AND LATIN. 

Pardon one from the clouds of Cader Idris, Mr. Editor, for 
presuming to obtrude on your pages the result of some wanderings 
in the regions of etymology, by way of variety, or as a contrast to 
the discoveries you make in the brilliant atmosphere of London. 
And, the first word of my text being very necessary to be well un- 
derstood among friends and foes, I will endeavour to trace its 
origin and derivation. 

Pardon is to be found in most of the European languages, but 
not of very high antiquity in any. It began to appear in the 
Welsh upwards of 500 years back ; and it has been deemed a le- 
gitimate word therein by some learned critics. Yet I have always 
rejected it as an exotic, in writing my native tongue; but I now 
begin to surmise that I have been over fastidious in so doing. 

In Welsh the word is written pardum, and thence, by inflec- 
tion, the verb pardynu. Par and twn are two primitive words, 
which compounded form purdwn, the t, in turn, taking its soft 
sound, for want of an appropropriate character in the Roman al- 
phabet, represented by the letter d. Par implies that is upon, 
contiguous, or tn. continuity ; a state of readiness, or preparedness; 
a pair, match, or couple : " I mi ar bar y mae'r bedel,"— To me in. 
preparation is the grave. D. G. 1340. Twn is a break, a frac- 
ture, a rising off; nscale, a.splint; adj. — broken, severed, splintered: 
and its f. is ton, a breaker of the sea; tonau, breakers. Hence the 
literal meaning of par and (ion, forming pardvm, is a break off of 
what is upon or joined ; a separation. 

The Greek noun <*Qunf, and its verb aQmpu, and the Latin 
noun venia, with the verb mitto, which imply pardon, and to 
remit, shall now be put to the same criterion ; because the greater 
part, perhaps, of the primitives of those two languages are not 
only preserved also in the Welsh, but they are used in their sim- 
ple forms, as words of obvious signification. 

Etymologists refer the noun a$s<n;, to the verb ofnyu, to remit, 
which enables us to identify it with a Welsh primitive. Pi is the 
state of being in, or possessed; PIANT, possession; PI AW, to own, 
to become possessed of. The negative a, prefixed to piaw, would: 
form aphiaw, to sever from, to dispossess. 

The Latin term venia comes next to be considered. But let it 



306 THE CAMBRO-BRITON. 

be first observed, that the « is not a radical articulation, according 
to the principle of the Welsh alphabet, of 16 primary characters, 
but it is either the soft mutation of b or of m *; and it is a charac- 
ter that has not even a place in the Greek alphabet. Therefore, 
in seeking for a primitive to venia, we must have recourse to one 
with a radical initial. Many words of common origin, in the 
Welsh and the Latin, begin with a g in the former, and v in the 
latter: as gior, vir; gwynt, ventus ; gwyrth, virtus ; gwir, verus ; 
and the like. A Welsh word, conformable to this principle, of- 
fers itself to notice, which is gwan, a going through, a severing, 
a dividing, a thrust, a stab; and the verb is gwanu: " Y neb 4 
wanai, nid adweinid." — Whoever he should send away would not 
be recognised. Aneurin. The g loses its sound in certain cases in 
most languages ; and in the Welsh it doth so regularly under va- 
rious ruleg of construction. 

The last to be noticed is the Latin verb mitto, to send, to dis- 
miss, to throw off; and also used in the sense of its derivative, re- 
mitto. Etymology refers this to the Greek verb pi&iu, of like im- 
port; and which comes to our purpose. The common term inWelsh, 
for pardon, is maddeuant, from maddeu, and the regular verb is ma- 
ddeuaw, to let go, to set at large, to loosen, to liberate, to dismiss, 
to quit, to pardon. Eneid-vaddeu, that is, about to let the soul 
depart, one condemned to death ; maddeu y dyrva, to dismiss the 
multitude ; maddeuynt eu rhwydau, they left their nets ; maddena 
vy mod hyved, pardon my being so bold. Tt is remarkable, that 
there is scarcely a difference in sound between the Greek ^t9i5 
and the Welsh maddeuaw; as may be seen by dividing it thus, 
ma-ddeu-aw, and pronouncing the middle syllable like the 
English pronoun they, with ma before and o after it — ma-they-o. 

Thus it is demonstrated, that the Welsh language has pre- 
served the roots of the words a.$t<ri<, f«6iu, mitto, and pardon. 

The old Cymry must have been of a forgiving disposition, by 
their bestowing a word to ask pardon on most of their neighbours, 
except the English, whom they suffered out of spite to put up 
with their own awkward forgiveness, till they got their pardon, at 
second-hand, from the French. 

Digona hyna. 
Geirion. 

• See Cambro-Britof, vol. i. p. 245, for an account of the Welsh radical 
letters, and also p. 404, where the principle of initial mutations in the Welsh 
language is fully explained.— -Ed.